Murray Sunset National Park & Border Track – Easter 2018

Murray Sunset National Park & Border Track – Easter 2018

Day 1 – Friday

We left Geelong early on Good Friday morning heading for the Murray Sunset National Park. We had a brief stop at Lascelles to check out one of the painted silos and stretch the legs. We refuelled in Ouyen and then headed out into the NP via Pheenys track, stopping for some lunch just after entering the park.

We had another stop along the track at Mopoke hut before stopping at our first night camp, Pheenys camp ground. This is a free camping area, with a reasonable amount of room. We all got settled and it was not long before the camp fire was blazing, and we were all enjoying the serenity and ambience of the evening.

Day 2 – Saturday

We woke to a brilliant Murray Sunset Sunrise and after some breakfast we packed up and continued our trek.

Pheenys track is long, with a diverse landscape. Wide open plains with varying vegetation and wildlife. Pheenys track intersects the Border track about 8 km from the Sturt highway. We planned to start our Border track adventure from the Sturt highway. So, after a cuppa and break we turned around and started down the track.

This is also a long section of the track and a very different landscape, with more clay-based surface than sand, a narrow track and lots of overhanging trees which kept knocking our sand flags. It wasn’t a difficult drive, but it was slow going with lots of ruts.

We continued down the border track with an ever-changing landscape once again. Driving through bush and farmland. We came across these amazing and huge tumbleweeds. I had never seen anything like them. Apparently, the bushes die off and then tumble in the wind spreading their seeds and creating new bushes.

Soon the track conditions changed, and we began to get more sand, deep sand with lots of ruts and wombat holes. We came across a family towing a big camper. They were bogged deep in the sand. We eventually were able to tow them out. It is so important to have low tyre pressures when sand driving.

We continued down the track and eventually came out on the Mallee highway. We drove the few ks into Pinaroo to top up fuel and then headed out to our second nights camp, Ngallo Park campground. This is just off the Mallee highway. This was a free camping area, with facilities. It was another sensational evening. We got the camp fire blazing and again enjoyed the camp fire chatter and relaxed.

Day 3 – Sunday

We again woke to a sensational sunrise.

We got packed up and re-joined the border track. We were now into the Big Desert State Forest. This section of the border track is possibly the most fun with the sand deep and some big dunes to navigate. We had a slow convoy in front of us, but they all pulled over to let us through. We came across a single vehicle who was struggling to get up a large dune. Once we explained to him about low tyre pressures he was fine and got up the dune with ease.

We came to the one-way section of the Border track which runs north to south. This is part of the Ngarkat National park and you need to purchase a day pass to go through. This is $10.00 per car and done online.

We had one large dune that warren and I took 3 attempts to get up. It was not only steep but rutted near the top. We eventually got up with letting more air out of our tyres and the rest of our group drove it with ease. This section of the track is fun. We all had a ball.

We drove into Red Bluff campground for lunch. This is approx. 3 km off the Border track. It is a large campground (free) with facilities. Plenty of room for large groups.

We came across a section in the track which had 3 options of going through. One bog hole looked like a mini Gunshot. Woody decided to have a go at it. He didn’t make it and so we again needed to do a recovery. We ended up anchoring our vehicle to Geoff’s for extra traction, and with double snatch straps we were able to winch Woody out.

The track is slow going and I will admit that it is deceptively long. We had planned to drive to the end of the track and then come back up along a different into our designated camp for Sunday night. However, with the very slow going (average of 40ks per hour) hold ups and recoveries the time was getting away from us. So we opted to get off the track a bit sooner and make our way up into Broken Bucket campground.

We eventually got into Broken Bucket campground and found a place to set up. Camp fire lit, we all settled in for our last night on this amazing adventure.

Day 4 – Monday

We packed up and headed out of the camp ground. A few km down the road we turned onto the Netting fence and our last taste of sand driving. Tyres down once again for the 30 km of netting fenceline. It was a pretty decent track.

We came out and went into Hindmarsh lake for a quick look at this lake. This lake is actually Victoria’s largest lake but is currently dry.

Geoff made the suggestion we detour up to the Causurina camping area for a bit of a recci for a future trip in the Big Desert. Pete and Alison left us here and headed for home and the rest of our group headed back to the Big Desert area. We found a great new camping area and after some lunch began our journey home.

So, ended a fantastic trip with a bit of everything. Sand, recoveries, bog holes and dam good fun. It isn’t all about the destination. It’s also about the company, the people who share the journey with you. We had a fantastic group of people who made this trip fun and entertaining.

Thank you all for trusting us and sharing this amazing trip with us. You are all awesome.

Shez Tedford